Jeremiah 18:1-11

I have always wanted to control my own destiny, to know what was lying around the next corner. So In my first semester of college, I spent several days studying the course book. I carefully planned each course that I would take for every semester. So by the middle of my senior year, I managed to pick up a third major and start a full-time job – my plan had worked, and I was the master of my destiny.

Jeremiah speaks of a Potter making vessels or jars out of clay, forming them with his hands. This was appropriate imagery for ancient Israel, whose destiny directly relied on their obedience to the Almighty. But as for me, I have always desired to be the one to form my future and my present. Though perhaps imperfect, this vessel has been set for many years, hardened by the kiln of my own choosing.

Recently that mindset was shattered. Within a span of seven months, my brother David committed suicide. My sister Melanie died from a cruel combination of MS and MD. Then my father died, more than partly from a broken heart. All of a sudden this seemingly hard, sturdy vessel was being smashed back down into a pliable lump of clay. And all of a sudden, I find myself more than ever relying on the hands of the Potter to re-mold and form me into a more useful vessel.

It is a cruel world that brings us suffering, grief and despair. But we have a loving God who is ready, like a Master Craftsman, to help us pick up the pieces of our lives and carry on.

Matt Straw